can I be discriminated against because I have schizophrenia

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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can I be discriminated against because I have schizophrenia

I have been passed over for a lead position for a person who has no experience and got the lead position on her date of hire. I have years of experience a proven track record of hard work dependability and quick learning. I am an admitted schizophrenic and believe that factor is being used to hold me back

Asked on October 11, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You cannot be discriminated against in employment because you *have* schizophrenia: the law if very clear that an employer may not discriminate (which includes passing over for promotions or other opportunities) an employee because he or she has a disability, which includes  a mental condition.
If you ever "acted out" at work due to your condition in a way that may have disrupted work, threatened or created a risk of injury to yourself or others, caused you to not be productive, and/or have alarmed customers or prospective customers, that would be different: in that case, you engaged in conduct antitheical to your employer's legitimate interests, and they may take action on that basis. Not discriminating because an employee has a condition is not the same thing as not taking acdtion because an employee is a poor-performer or has caused problems; employers may act in their own best interests.
If you believe you have not caused problems at work or for your employer, but that you are suffering for simply *having* schizophrenia, then you be the victim of illegal disability-based employment discrimination. If you think that is the case,   contact the federal EEOC about possibly filing a discrimination complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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